Nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, nasopharynx

Carcinoma of nasopharynx

Low grade nasopharyngeal papillary adenocarcinoma

Last author update: 1 April 2014
Last staff update: 26 January 2023 (update in progress)

Copyright: 2004-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Papillary adenocarcinoma of nasopharynx

Rifat Mannan, M.B.B.S., M.D.
Songyang Yuan, M.D., Ph.D.
Page views in 2022: 2,550
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Cite this page: Mannan R, Yuan S. Low grade nasopharyngeal papillary adenocarcinoma. website. Accessed March 24th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Low grade primary adenocarcinoma of nasopharynx, derived from surface epithelium
  • Uncommon tumor of nasopharynx
  • Median age 37 years but occurs over a wide age range
  • Not associated with wood dust exposure or other known factors
  • Not related to EBV
  • No gender predilection
  • May occur anywhere in nasopharynx but preferred locations are roof, posterior wall and lateral wall
Clinical features
  • Nasal obstruction is most common presenting symptom
  • Tumors usually remain confined within nasopharynx
  • Excellent prognosis
  • Slow growing and indolent
  • Rarely recurs (if incomplete excision)
  • No metastases reported to date
Case reports
  • Complete surgical excision is usually curative
Clinical images

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Well defined large polypoid tumor

Gross description
  • Soft, exophytic mass with papillary appearance
  • Size can vary from a few millimeters to 3.0 cm
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Infiltrative tumor with papillary and glandular growth patterns
    • Papillary structures are complex with arborization and fibrovascular cores
    • Glandular growth has cribriform or back to back glands
  • Lined by cuboidal or columnar cells with pink cytoplasm and round / oval nuclei that are variably clear or hyperchromatic
  • Mild to moderate nuclear pleomorphism, no / rare nucleoli
  • Mitotic figures are inconspicuous
  • Occasionally psammoma bodies may be present
  • May be focal necrosis
  • No angiolymphatic invasion or perineural invasion
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Papillae and glands

TTF1, CK19, vimentin, EMA

Strong TTF1 nuclear staining

Positive stains
Negative stains
Differential diagnosis
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